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Developer Insight: 20 Years of Diablo

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To celebrate 20 years of Diablo, Blizzard sat down with three core team members as they talk how is it to work on Diablo.

Blizzard LogoRob Foote, Lead Producer

Q: How long have you been a Diablo fan?

Rob Foote, Lead Producer: I remember playing Diablo with my brothers; we had one computer and the four of us had to play in shifts. We each had our own characters; I remember the first time my brother showed me a Godly Plate of the Whale and I was like, “Oh man, that’s crazy! How did you get that?!” We were playing online, which was so new to us, so exciting and crazy.

Q: What is it about the Diablo series that appeals to you?

Rob Foote: To me, it’s about power and seeing your character develop over time. To struggle through a portion of the game and then go back and find it’s trivial; playing on higher and higher difficulties and watching them get easier. Besides power, there’s loot. Getting a Godly Plate of the Whale or seeing a green item drop for the first time in Diablo II was a thrill. That’s still true in Diablo III; you see a set item drop and think “is this my last piece of Jade Harvester? I sure hope it is!” and then you open it up to see. Once you get those pieces you think “I’m going to raise my difficulty now, because now I’m a lot more powerful.” Building power over time is a fantasy present across the franchise. The tone of Diablo also appeals to me, because it’s so different from other Blizzard games. It’s so dark, and I love horror in games, film, and novels. It’s a great genre.

"Our designers have seemingly infinite ideas, so it’s usually a question of when we can get something done, and what can we deliver for each patch."

Q: Do you remember the first thing you worked on when you joined the Diablo team?

Rob Foote: My first job was as a game tester for Diablo II on the 1.04 patch. Blizzard was a lot smaller back then, and so was our QA team. We basically had to brute-force test Diablo, and if you’ve played D2, it’s very challenging to do because there’s so many different sets and Uniques. One of the craziest bugs we found arose from the set number of facings for each character. We had this checklist where you hold each weapon type and check every single one of the facings, and I thought “We’re never gonna find anything wrong with this; why even run the checklist?” But sure enough, one of the items, in one of the facings, disappeared from my character’s hands.

Q: How did you get started on the team and in your current role?

Rob Foote: I started at Blizzard 16 years ago, and my first job was as a game tester. I also worked on Lord of Destruction as a tester, worked my way up as a producer on World of Warcraft, and then came back as a producer on Diablo III. Now I’m a lead producer on Diablo III, and our job is to manage the schedule and ensure we get stuff done on time so we can publish patches. A lot of the job is about tasking individuals with work that needs to be done, and meeting with designers and asking what they want to accomplish with a feature. We set priorities with the team about the must-haves and the nice-to-haves, then go to work to get stuff done in the best way possible. Our designers have seemingly infinite ideas, so it’s usually a question of when we can get something done, and what can we deliver for each patch.

"(...)loot is what drives the game to me. They’re like presents; you get to open them and they can dramatically change your character."

Q: What is your favorite Diablo item?

Rob Foote: In the first Diablo, it was the Godly Plate of the Whale. In Diablo II, the Stone of Jordan was THE item that consumed us. For Diablo III . . . I’m very unlucky and for the longest time I was trying to find Lut Socks. I needed them for my Earthquake/Leap build, and I waited for the longest time to get them, and it was the last piece to complete my build so I was very happy when I finally got them.

Q: What classes are you playing currently? Do you play Hardcore or Softcore?

Rob Foote: Last season I played a Witch Doctor, and I’ve played a lot of Barbarian. In Diablo II, Barbarian was one of my favorite classes; I also played a lot of Necromancers and Amazons, so in Diablo III I played Witch Doctor, and now with the Necromancer coming out next I’m excited about playing it again. I’ve played the Necromancer internally and it’s a lot of fun. In Season 8 I played my first Hardcore character to 70 and now I think I’ll probably switch back and forth. Hardcore’s a different game; you’re not pushing to the absolute limit, but instead pushing cautiously to the limit with the knowledge that if you die, you lose it all.

Q: What’s it like working on the Diablo team?

Rob Foote: When people ask me what the best part of working at Blizzard is, I always answer, “the people.” Everyone here loves games and our games in particular, so motivation isn’t a factor. People come in every day to make amazing games and that makes our job very rewarding and pretty straightforward. Great ideas can come from anywhere, and our designers regularly have brainstorm sessions with the entire team. It’s all about having great ideas and putting them into the game. Every year, we get better at making Diablo; we trust each other, we listen to each other, and we collaborate. It’s a great place to be and we’re always excited to come in to work.

Q: What do you think is the historical legacy of Diablo? What will people be reading about the series 10–20 years from now?

Rob Foote: I think if, 20 years from now, someone is flipping through a college textbook on game design, and they see the entry on “Action RPG,” the entry would say “see: Diablo.” Anyone who plays that genre and loves it has played Diablo games. I think Diablo satisfies the need to build heroes over time, grow in power, get awesome loot, slay monsters, play with your friends, and share those experiences with others.

Q: What‘s the one thing that would cause Diablo to no longer be Diablo if we removed it from the game?

Rob Foote: Loot. The loot is what drives the game to me. They’re like presents; you get to open them and they can dramatically change your character. When you get a powerful item, you can really feel the increase in your performance; it’s not a 0.4% increase but a 20% increase in damage and you’re just slaying things you used to struggle with in one hit. That’s really satisfying.

"(...)just “fresh meat!” and you’re dead. And you’re like, “Whoa! What just happened?” "

Q: Can you give us an example of something you’re really excited to have worked on?

Rob Foote: There are many moments, but I think the greatest moment for me was when Reaper of Souls shipped. It was obviously a commercial success, but, more importantly, it was also a huge success in the eyes of our players. The community loved it; our family and friends contacted us saying they loved it, the launch went very smoothly, and it was well-received by a lot of people. Second would be shipping Lord of Destruction, because it was the first time I got a credit in the game industry. I still have the instruction manual with my name printed on it.

Q: Can you tell us a little about the Darkening of Tristram (Patch 2.4.3) and how the patch came to be?

Rob Foote: The initial conversation was along the lines of, “we want to do something for the 20th anniversary; what’s the plan?” Initially, we were going to just add the old-school music from Diablo into Diablo III. That evolved into, “what if we could get you to play a representation of Diablo in Diablo III?” That became, “well, one level was pretty easy to do, there’s only 15 more, let’s just do them all.” We had some very passionate people who were dedicated to making it happen, and it kind of snowballed—in a good way—into having all 16 levels, then finding monsters that work within those levels to make it reminiscent of the Diablo I experience. Someone had the idea to run the game in 640x480 resolution, but it wasn’t really feasible—so we created a visual filter instead to get the pixelated look.

Q: What are some of the series’ most difficult and memorable bosses? Any tips?

Rob Foote: The first time you fight the Butcher. Back in the day, there were no spoilers. You didn’t know what was going to happen when you walked into his room, and he instantly killed you. Just “fresh meat!” and you’re dead. And you’re like, “Whoa! What just happened?” I think that’s very memorable.

Q: If you could go back in time and tell the developers of the original Diablo anything, what would it be?

Rob Foote: I don’t think I’d have them change a thing, even things we perceive as flaws. We never consider those things flaws unless, over time, something changes our perspective. You can’t run in Diablo I, which was fine at the time. After Diablo II came out; it let you run, and so obviously we thought, “oh, this is so much better!” But I never thought about that when I was playing D1.

Q: Is it possible to kill Diablo for good?

Rob Foote: In Diablo, the heroes never celebrate. Even when you think you beat him, Diablo is always coming back. Be on your guard. Evil lurks everywhere, and Sanctuary is a dangerous place.

 

Blizzard LogoJulian Love, Lead VFX Artist

Q: How long have you been a Diablo fan?

Julian Love, Lead VFX Artist: I’d have to go back 20 years to my first year in the industry, 1996. I was working at Sierra Online and our lead programmer brought in a game and said “you’ve got to play this, this is awesome”—it was Diablo. I immediately fell in love. There was a secret pact between the lead engineer, the lead designer, and I—every day we’d just play Diablo together all the time. The producer would show up and be angry at us, or someone would sneak across the hall and say “I died. You’ve got to come help me!” 

Q: What is it about the Diablo series that appeals to you?

Julian Love: Back in 1996 I was playing a lot of Diablo. Some of the guys who played with me wanted to go off on their own and make their own games and we were asking ourselves “what kind of game do you want to make?” and one guy goes, “I want to make a horse racing game!” and I was like, “no way, I want to make a Diablo game!”

And then Diablo II came out and a coworker commented “You know, you show up every day and all you do is talk about Diablo and you know more about it than anyone else. Why aren’t you working there?” So, after six years in the industry, it hit me: “What am I doing? Why am I not working there? I can work there, right?” I quit the next day and I got a job at Blizzard North shortly after.

Q: Do you remember the first thing you worked on when you joined the Diablo team?

Julian Love: What I did was a bit more mundane in nature. We were working on a project that eventually became the engine for Diablo III. Back then you could model a character, but a bunch of steps needed to happen before you could get the character in the game so it could move around. You want to automate as much of it as possible, but back then that wasn’t an industry standard. Nobody had done it. So I worked on the process that lets you turn a polygon into a fully usable character. This process is still in use today; in fact, the Necromancer is being made using the same pipeline I built in 2002.

""Am I going to dig this? Or am I really just done with it?" (...)and just like that I was sucked back into the game again (...)"

Q: How did you get started on the team and in your current role?

Julian Love: I started as a technical artist working on the D3 engine, and about six months in, I noticed people were doing special effects for their characters and—this is going to sound a bit strange—there was a character with a gun. Every time the gun was shot, a little puff of smoke would come out of the barrel. I saw the smoke come out and then shrink down to a point. As you know, smoke does not do that. What I discovered was, many people on the team did their own special effects but no one in particular was passionate about it. They just saw it as something else they had to do.

I really love special effects, so much that at one point I considered working in the film industry. So I built some stuff, everyone loved it and so I said "Seriously, give all of that work to me. Hire someone else to do what I'm doing now and let me do ALL special effects. Nobody gets to do it but me!" because I loved it so much. 

Q: What is your favorite Diablo item?

Julian Love: Two items from Diablo II are my favorites. The first one is Ume's Lament. When I first played Diablo II, the Necromancer completely captured my attention. Playing Hardcore, you have a lot of opportunities to play the same class over and over. I made a few Necromancers and they were terrible. I had no idea what I was doing, so I decided I had to play something else. I picked a Paladin—which was also terrible—but I eventually killed Diablo, and he dropped Ume's Lament. I took it as a sign that I should go back and play more of the Necromancer now that I had a good item for it, so I did—and was much more successful.

Years and years later when I was working at Blizzard North, I had taken a break from the game, so I started again on a fresh character. At that point I had played a lot of Diablo, so I was kind of unsure, like, "Am I going to dig this? Or am I really just done with it?" I walk out of town, the first monster I kill drops a Gull dagger, and just like that I was sucked back into the game again for at least another six months. It was great.

Q: What classes are you playing currently? Do you play Hardcore or Softcore?

Julian Love: Witch Doctor. The variety of builds you can create for Witch Doctor means I've been playing a lot of it. My second class is Monk; he's so fast and responsive it’s hard not to like, but then again, we built him like that. I always play Hardcore and I don't have any Softcore characters. I used to play Softcore exclusively and then I tried Hardcore out of curiosity. Clicking one box changed the whole game. Suddenly everything you do is scarier, and it was awesome. That was it for me. I couldn't go back to Softcore.

"(...)the fact that you can play with just your mouse is crucial to the accessibility the series is known for."

Q: What’s it like working on the Diablo team? What do you do for fun?

Julian Love: There's an old saying for games: "You can't make fun without having fun." I think if you could hear the giggling and laughing at the preposterousness of proposing "let's put over 100 skeletons on the screen for Army of the Dead" and the process of realizing that, you’d understand. No one thinks of these things in isolation, no one sits at their desk alone and comes up with an amazing idea that lights up the world; what happens is we get together and bounce things around and try to one-up each other, and be silly and comical, and propose the most absurd ideas. But it's also very safe to say those things, because there's a lot of trust. Others forgive me for saying something that sounds really off the wall, because they know the next ridiculous, seemingly undoable idea might come from them. Nobody judges the ideas during brainstorms and we let our creativity run wild. We trust that we're coming up with something crazy, but it's always to try and make the game as fun as it can be.

Q: What do you think is the historical legacy of Diablo? What will people be reading about the series 10–20 years from now?

Julian Love: Diablo takes a kind of experience—the fantasy RPG experience—and makes it accessible to everyone. At the time of Diablo’s release, that kind of experience came only to a certain kind of person, and only if you could delve deeply into all the systems, and all the complexities that came with them could you then enjoy the experience. Diablo made it accessible for the rest of us. I can say this with a lot of authority, because I have a relative who I'd say is the quintessential "anti-gamer." He's someone who thinks games are silly; a waste of time. When D3 came out, I convinced him to try it out. After giving him a little direction, he starts clicking, starts killing monsters, and he just lost himself in the game for three hours and had a delightful experience. To me, that's the magic of Diablo.

Q: What‘s the one thing that would cause Diablo to no longer be Diablo if we removed it from the game?

Julian Love: There's a good argument to be made for loot. But I think the important one is preserving the ability to play with one hand. Even though most players will use two hands pretty much all the time, the fact that you can play with just your mouse is crucial to the accessibility the series is known for. If I had to pick a close second, it would be the ability to beat the crap out of so many monsters. Monster-slaying is core to the experience, and if at some point you're not using your skills and items to beat demons into submission, it ceases to be a Diablo game.

"For Army of the Dead, we knew we wanted a long cooldown, flashy spell, and I knew we needed a spell to show people how we were going to bring the Necromancer to the next level."

Q: Can you give us an example of something you’re really excited to have worked on?

Julian Love: I always enjoy trying to figure out new things that will delight our players, and then see their delight when we present it to the world. When we were making the new Witch Doctor skill for Reaper of Souls—Piranhas—the original design was a bit vague, just some kind of summoned debuff, with maybe "some bugs" as a visual. I said, "we need a story here; besides, how will this be different from Locust Swarm? We need something else." You don't want to rehash ideas, and you don't want something that doesn’t fit the class fantasy, but instead something in between, familiar and still new and fresh. Using bugs wasn't good enough, but the idea of animals wasn't bad . . . so what about piranhas? The team latched on to that idea; it was easy to associate it with the Witch Doctor, so we made it. Seeing the reaction as people used that spell for the first time was delightful.

Q: Can you talk about the Necromancer visuals and some of the skills we saw at BlizzCon?

Julian Love: As soon as we decided we were doing the Necromancer, there were skills that made us all say "we can't have a Necromancer without this." Corpse Explosion was at the top of the list. Looking back at Diablo II, the graphics themselves didn't really do the skill justice; the corpses on the ground were iconic, but the notion and the concept of the skill carried it a lot further than visuals did. We have the opportunity to put a strong, clear visual on it, to ensure the skill will feel visceral and fit the fantasy.

When you're working with something with a previous incarnation like this, it's like working with a clay statue that hasn't hardened yet. You're going to touch it and something will change; the question is how.

For Army of the Dead, we knew we wanted a long cooldown, flashy spell, and I knew we needed a spell to show people how we were going to bring the Necromancer to the next level. We gave it a name from a skill which also exists in World of Warcraft, and people just assumed, "oh, okay, they're just going to copy-paste that." Then we got to show it at BlizzCon, and there were literally over one hundred skeletons on the screen. Is this a world record? It has to be. Seeing the reaction from the crowd at BlizzCon was really satisfying. I'm always looking forward to those moments.

Those skills are very grounded and visceral, and that has a lot to do with the visual identity of the Necromancer, who was a very serious, sinister, dark class in Diablo II. We want to make sure we preserve that feeling.

Q: What are some of the series’ most difficult and memorable bosses? Any tips?

Julian Love: I worked on getting patch 1.10 out the door for Diablo II. I showed up, and they were testing Über Diablo, and the guy who was working on it says, “oh, you’re going to LOVE this! It’s almost unbeatable.” He fires up a character outfitted with all rare—yellow—gear, and goes, “look at how HARD this is!” I’m like “You’re kidding, right? Can you get my dual-wielding Barbarian from Battle.net?” A couple days later, I get on my Barbarian, and I say, “okay, watch this,” and I proceed to waste that incarnation of Über Diablo in like 10 seconds. I showed them they were not testing it right, and we started pulling characters from Battle.net to test it, which ended up meaning a 3-month delay to the patch—sorry, everyone!—but in the end the boss was a lot more satisfying.

Q: If you could go back in time and tell the developers of the original Diablo anything, what would it be?

Julian Love: I really like those games for what they are, and it's difficult for me to be critical of anything they've done because that led us to what we have today. A lot of the time, “flaws” are the quirks that make you love a game even more. So, if I had to pick something, it would be a small annoyance; I’d tell them, "don't make gold take inventory space! Put it in its own counter instead" or something. Diablo II is even harder for me, as sometimes I hold it up as the perfect game, but I think if I had to pick something there, I'd say "if you want people to care about resistances, build up to that. Don't let players spend the entire first Act without encountering any poison damage, and then have Andariel wreck them because they had no idea they needed 75% poison resists."

At the same time, these flaws give us stories to tell. The reason we can look back and laugh is because we all got killed by Andariel’s poison damage at one point or another.

Q: Is it possible to kill Diablo for good?

Julian Love: For good? I'm going to give you the smart guy, out-of-the-game-lore answer: you don't want to kill him for good. If we were ever going to make another game and put the Diablo name on it—and I think everyone wants that—we kind of want the Lord of Terror around so you can kill him in it, right? It's OK for an expansion to not have Diablo in it, but every new entry in the series is going to need our titular villain.

 

Blizzard LogoJoe Shely, Senior Game Designer

Q: How long have you been a Diablo fan?

Joe Shely, Senior Game Designer: I've been a fan since the original Diablo. I played it back in high school and my mom yelled at me for not turning the computer off at bedtime—that spellbook wasn’t going to find itself. I also played tons of Diablo II in college; all those sleepless nights worked out for me, though, because now I get to work on Diablo! 

Q: What is it about the Diablo series that appeals to you?

Joe Shely: The original Diablo was all about getting to the bottom of the dungeon and fighting Diablo. It was a challenge just to make it down there alive and find out what's going on. You have to remember, back then you didn’t have the story that's been developed today, it was just "what is happening under this creepy church?" It was very mysterious and I found it compelling.

In Diablo II, I had a Frost Sorceress and I would Frozen Orb everything; I wanted to get to level 99 and I wanted to beat Diablo on Hell difficulty. I liked putting my points into skills and overcharging skills with +skills on items, playing the item game to maximize my skills, and getting Uniques. I felt like I could always keep progressing my character, and I think that's a strength of Diablo—your character can always get stronger and take on new, harder challenges.

"I think the strongest item I have on any character is probably an Ancient Yang's Recurve with really good rolls."

Q: Do you remember the first thing you worked on when you joined the Diablo team?

Joe Shely: I don't know if I can remember the exact thing, but I probably tuned something that frustrated me as a player. At one point, we had an issue with seeking projectiles that tracked the player being biased towards one direction. It was very good at tracking you in one direction, and very bad at tracking you in the other direction; I realized this playing on my Wizard, so I came in to work the next day and fixed it.

Q: How did you get started on the team and in your current role?

Joe Shely: I began working on Diablo III directly shortly after the original release. I came on to help with Reaper of Souls and got to do a bunch of work on monsters, bosses, systems, Adventure Mode, Greater Rift tuning, and more.

Q: What is your favorite Diablo item?

Joe Shely: I definitely like Cam's Rebuttal. It's not the strongest item—I think the strongest item I have on any character is probably an Ancient Yang's Recurve with really good rolls. In terms of pure power, it's a fantastic item, and I was super excited I got it. But when I look at some of the items that do really interesting things, I really like playing the Crusader and having a window of time where I've got another charge of Falling Sword I don't want to waste. There are conditions under which I won't use it, like if there's only one guy left. Sometimes I try to wait as long as possible before using that second charge to maximize the damage from the Firestarter Rune and Consecration.

"(...)the Diablo legacy is very much still being written. There’s this chase of slaying monsters and getting epic loot and being heroic(...)"

Q: What classes are you playing currently? Do you play Hardcore or Softcore?

Joe Shely: Let’s see . . . I’ve got a Hardcore Wizard in Season 8 and a Demon Hunter non-Seasonal. I also have a Hardcore Crusader I haven’t played in a while, but he’s pretty fun too. I think I play Hardcore for the same reason as many of our players—the stakes are increased, your decisions matter in the combat sense. It’s certainly something I do when I want to sit and only play Diablo III, and really focus on that. I won’t try to do anything else while I’m playing my Hardcore character.

Q: What’s it like working on the Diablo team? What do you do for fun?

Joe Shely: The Diablo team is a great group to work for in many ways; it has its own culture, and it’s a culture that evolved around wanting the best for the game and trying to use our resources and the talent of the team to deliver awesome content for our players. At Blizzard, we have this very strong philosophy of supporting our games for years after their release, so that’s very much our focus on the team, looking at the game week-to-week, month-to-month to figure out what the game needs now, and what’s the best thing to deliver to our fans. I’m very proud of our team-wide brainstorms, where we get everyone in a room and we say “here’s the next piece of content we’re going to do,” like a new zone, and we discuss possibilities. “There are new monsters in this zone; what should they be?”

We get a good sense of what we should do in brainstorms; for example, we’ll start with a rough overview of a new zone, like a cold, shrouded moor; there’s going to be some rocky terrain, and it’s misty . . . so what kind of monsters live there? We look at all those and figure out what can we do, and which ideas resonate most strongly with the team. The advantage of team brainstorming is, when it comes time to make the content, whether it’s modeling a creature, animating it, or adding powers, the people who are doing it know they had input into that feature, which makes everyone more passionate.

Q: What do you think is the historical legacy of Diablo? What will people be reading about the series 10–20 years from now?

Joe Shely: I would hope they would read about it and then go play some Diablo, in whatever form that may be, because I think the Diablo legacy is very much still being written. There’s this chase of slaying monsters and getting epic loot and being heroic, and that thread has tied the franchise together. I would expect to see more of that in the future.

Malthael is a pretty tough boss: he’s got multiple phases,(...) and there’s some stuff that can kill you if you’re not watching.

Q: What‘s the one thing that would cause Diablo to no longer be Diablo if we removed it from the game?

Joe Shely: I think loot is the answer. Slaying monsters, getting epic loot, and using your epic loot to slay more monsters is the core loop of Diablo. You can see this all the way from Diablo I to Diablo III. Look at what spellbooks were in Diablo I; they were a form of epic loot that changed your gameplay. When you consider how legendaries have evolved in Diablo III, you can see how the items in Diablo III very much affect your gameplay in some of those same ways—they can make significant changes to your skills, how they're used, the visual effects of your skills, and gameplay mechanics in quite a similar way to how a spellbook would give you a completely new spell.

Q: Can you give us an example of something you’re really excited to have worked on?

Joe Shely: I’m excited about the changes coming to Greater Rifts in 2.4.3. We've reworked the way we spawn monsters in Greater Rifts, and the most obvious effect is that you're going to see a more consistent and, for some tiles, higher density of monsters—but it's really much more. We want the Greater Rift experience to be as varied as possible, and to have plenty of possibilities to be great. When you go down a floor, you should expect great monsters, surprising tiles, cool pylons, etc. The changes we've done in 2.4.3 are aimed at improving that experience. I think it's going to be a good change for our players.

Q: Can you tell us a little about the Darkening of Tristram (Patch 2.4.3) and how the patch came to be?

Joe Shely: I think one of the things we tried to capture with the anniversary event is this direct connection to the Soulstone and the evil of the Soulstone that ties the franchise together. I think the story of Malthael is a very interesting one; you get to meet the Angiris Council and learn about what's going on with these angels, but it's also nice to have an anchor or touchstone in the Red Soulstone, and that's why we wanted to bring it back for the anniversary event. That's also why we put the additional effort to get the D1 cinematic in there, and make a legendary gem you can put in your helm and really capture what I think was probably one of the most memorable events of Diablo 1—you end up impaling yourself.

Q: What are some of the series’ most difficult and memorable bosses? Any tips?

Joe Shely: The Baal fight in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction is pretty hard if you’re a ranged character. He slows you, and you have to deal with the tight constraints of the room. You’re being thrust directly into the fight. Looking at Diablo III, I think Malthael is a pretty tough boss: he’s got multiple phases, a lot of different mechanics, and there’s some stuff that can kill you if you’re not watching. His clouds can be quite dangerous; the adds he summons are some of the most dangerous monsters you’ll face out in the world, and then his ultimate lightning hands attack does extreme damage, so you really have to be on your toes.

Q: If you could go back in time and tell the developers of the original Diablo anything, what would it be?

Joe Shely: I think there would be a lot of back slapping. I’ve always wanted something to happen with the cow when you click on it, the one outside the entrance to the catacombs. Anything, really. I mean you click him, he moos at you, you think something’s gonna happen. I’d like to think we’ve corrected that in the later games, though.

Editor’s note: We’re not sure what Joe is on about here. 

Q: Is it possible to kill Diablo for good?

Joe Shely: All I can say is, he hasn’t died yet, right? He’s not been permanently vanquished at this point. We’ll have to wait and see

(Source)

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    • By Starym
      Update: we're also getting a new pet and portrait frame in addition to the reurning rewards from Season 7!

      The next season's PTR will be up this Thursday and we have all the patch notes already! The big news is the new seasonal power, and it's a pretty solid one. The Pandemonuim effect will not only buff your speed and power (up to 50% speed and 100% damage) based on killstreak, but also has a combo effect depending on when you choose to end your killstreak (from massive frost novas, angels descending to help and more). All the effects are listed below and will scale based on the GR level as well, making them (hopefully) relevant in higher GRs as well.

      We're also getting new sets! Crusaders and Monks will be getting them this season, with the other class ones arriving in later seasons, and there will be new and returning legendary powers that will synergize with the sets.

      Barbarians also get a lot of tweaks to their legendary items, hopefully addressing the issues players have had with the class.
      New Pet (source)
      I totally forgot to put this in the patch notes, but just in the interest of visibility:
      Added a pet and portrait frame reward for completing the full Season Journey for Season 19
      This is similar to the Galactic Wings that were available during Season 17 and in addition to the returning Season rewards from Season 7 for completing Chapter IV
       
      PTR Patch 2.6.7 (source)
      The one-week PTR testing period for 2.6.7 begins October 17 and we need your help to make Season 19 better than ever!
      We’ve begun introducing brand new class sets to Diablo III as outlined in our Ongoing Support blog, heavily revised several Barbarian Legendaries at the direct request of the community and continued to iterate on our approach to Seasonal buffs and how they can change up the overall gameplay experience. Take a look at the preliminary patch notes below and start theorycrafting; Patch 2.6.7 will be arriving before the end of the year!


      PATCH 2.6.7
      Table of Contents:
      General Seasons Items Monsters Bug Fixes Note: All changes apply to all versions of Diablo III, including PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC unless otherwise indicated. Please note that PTR is only available for PC and Mac users.
       
      General
      Greater Rift Keystones are now subject to vacuum pick-up A note regarding the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) has been added, clearly stating we do not sell account information. For more information regarding the CCPA, please see here. (Console Only) Return to Top
       
      Seasons
      Developer Note: One of the biggest pieces of feedback from Season 18's buff was that the Triune bonus didn't stick with your character while you adventured. With Season 19, we've altered course as well as upped the ante by experimenting with new mechanics to add an element of both chaos and power to the battlefield. It should feel a bit like Pandemonium, and it may be a consideration whether or not you want to reset your total kill streak for a particular killstreak bonus versus continuously maintain the overall effect (especially as the highest level killstreak rewards will be harder to leverage in situations like Greater Rifts). Killstreaks with higher kill count requirements are more powerful, and we're looking forward to seeing what players think of and do with them! The buff for Season 19, the Season of Eternal Conflict, has been added Pandemonium For the duration of the Season, all players will have a stacking buff that that persists as long as you have hit or killed a monster within the last 5 seconds Each stack gives 0.05% movement speed and 0.1% bonus damage. This bonus caps at 50% movement and 100% damage (1000 stacks) In addition, after reaching a certain number of kills in a row, a power is unleashed, dealing an amount of scaling damage based on player level and difficulty or Greater Rift level: 15 Kills: Five massive energy twisters are unleashed 30 Kills: Dark Geysers form beneath enemies 50 Kills: Exploding Chickens seek and destroy 100 Kills: Corpses rain from the sky 150 Kills: A wide Frost Nova freezes enemies 200 Kills: Treasure chests fall from the sky 300 Kills: A ring of fire engulfs everything 400 Kills: Meteors hail from above 500 Kills: Angels descend upon the battlefield to fight for your cause 1000 Kills: ??? Powers are tracked at a group level; this means only one power can be active in play at a time, regardless of the number of players in a group Return to Top
       
      Items
      Developer Note: With Patch 2.6.7, we are beginning to roll out new class sets for every class in Diablo III. For the Season of Eternal Conflict, we're focusing on the two classes that embody the Light and wield some form of Holy elemental damage: Crusader and Monk. You'll also find a handful of retuned or newly added Legendary powers intended to synergize with the new class sets. We did a lot of community research into which skills were most requested by players as well as most underrepresented in current builds, and we hope you're as excited as we are for these new gameplay options. The other class sets will be coming in later patches, so if your class isn't represented this time around, fret not—they're coming in a future patch! You'll also notice a significant number of Barbarian item changes in this patch. While the Barbarian class set will be coming at a later date, we have very much heard the War Cry from our dedicated Barbarian community and implemented a number of changes heavily inspired by extremely thorough feedback. While not every suggestion has been taken at a 1:1 parity, the thoughtful analysis helped guide us to changes we could implement in this patch. Thanks very much to the community members who expressed their concerns in a respectful, constructive manner. It's very helpful, and we greatly appreciate the thought and effort that went into making your voices heard! New Crusader Set: Aegis of Valor 2-Piece Bonus: The charged bolts from Fist of the Heavens has a chance to cast another Fist of the Heavens 4-Piece Bonus: Hitting with Fist of the Heavens reduces damage taken by 1% for 5 seconds. Stacks up to 50 times 6-Piece Bonus: Increase the damage of Fist of the Heavens by 10,000% New Monk Set: Patterns of Justice 2-Piece Bonus: Sweeping Wind gains the effect of every rune 4-Piece Bonus: Each enemy within Sweeping Wind increases your movement speed by 5%. Stacks up to 10 times. 6-Piece Bonus: Attacking with Tempest Rush while Sweeping Wind is active will temporarily increase the size of Sweeping Wind after hitting over 30 times within a short period. Sweeping Wind damage is increased by 10,000% Darklight Fist of the Heavens has a [45-60%] 100% chance to be cast twice. Additional Legendary Power: Increases the damage of Fist of the Heavens by [200-250%]. The Eye of the Storm New Legendary Power: When Sweeping Wind hits exactly 1 enemy, its damage is increased by 100%. Vengeful Wind Increases the maximum stack count of Sweeping Wind by [6-7] 10 Additional Legendary Power: Increases the damage of Sweeping Wind by [250-300%] Chantodo's Resolve The scaled attack speed damage bonus to Wave of Destruction has been reduced Developer Note: This is a reactive adjustment from an earlier change to how Wave of Destruction receives a bonus from Attack Speed. The buff that resulted from that change was more than we expected, so we're reigning it in. Wrath of the Wastes 6-Piece Bonus: The damage bonus now also applies to Rend Lamentation Additional Legendary Power: Increases the damage of Rend by [150-200%] Ambo's Pride New Legendary Power: Attacking with Whirlwind also applies Rend and the total damage of Rend is dealt over 1 second Remorseless Hammer of the Ancients has a [25-30%] chance to summon an Ancient for 20 seconds New Legendary Power: While both Wrath of the Berserker and Call of the Ancients are active, Hammer of the Ancients deals [200-250%] more damage. Fjord Cutter You are surrounded by a Chilling Aura when attacking. New Legendary Power: Seismic Slam attacks 50% faster and also deals 100-150% increased damage against Slowed or Chilled enemies Bracers of Destruction Seismic Slam deals [400-500%] increased damage to the first 5 10 enemies it hits. Fury of the Ancients Call of the Ancients gains the effect of the Ancients' Fury rune and your Ancients attack 100% faster Bone Ringer Now has a cap of 60 stacks. Developer Note: We never intended for this item to be used in a way where you farm stacks for an egregious amount of time (5+ minutes) and then watch all their health disappear in less than a second. It's not an engaging style of gameplay, and we don't want that experience to be the best way to play the Necromancer. Legacy of Dreams This gem is now more likely to drop from a Greater Rift Guardian Return to Top
       
      Monsters
      Blighter Blighter's Poison Tentacles' Area of Effect now hits less frequently, but at higher damage, when attacking players Return to Top
       
      Bug Fixes
      Spite Fixed an issue where casting Restless Giant would cause the 200% physical bonus damage to fail to apply when the Gargantuan enraged Squirt's Necklace Fixed an issue where some ground effects were causing the Squirt's Necklace buff to fall off despite being shielded Return to Top
       
      How to Participate
      To participate in the public test, you must have a Diablo III game license attached to a Battle.net account in good standing (i.e. one that hasn't been suspended or banned). In addition, you will also need to download and install the Blizzard Battle.net desktop app if you have not already done so.
      Step 1: Restart the Battle.net desktop app.
      Step 2: Navigate to the Diablo III tab on the left-hand menu.
      Step 3: On the Diablo III screen, there is a drop-down menu right above the "Play" button (note that this may say "Install" if you do not have Diablo III currently installed). Select "PTR: Diablo III" from this drop-down menu before proceeding.
      Step 4: Click Install to begin the installation process.
      Your PTR account will be created automatically if you do not already have one. The PTR is available in all supported languages, and accounts from all regions are eligible to participate. For additional assistance with installing and launching the PTR, click here.
      Return to Top
       
       
      PTR Character Copy
      The option to copy your existing Diablo III characters from your live account to the PTR will be available and can be done directly through the PTR client. However, only one region per account can be copied at a time. So, if you choose to copy characters from your account in a different region, any previously copied PTR characters will be lost.
      Step 1: Log into the live game and then log out.
      Step 2: Log into PTR client and create a level 1 character. After you're done, return to the main character screen.
      Step 3: Click on the "PTR Copy" button located in the upper right-hand corner. (The PTR Copy button will not appear in-game until you have created a new level 1 character.)
      Step 4: Select your region.
      Step 5: Click "Copy." This will copy all characters on your account from the selected region.
      Step 6: You will be disconnected from the PTR client.
      Step 7: Log back in. Your copied characters will be available for play.
      Please note that you can only copy characters from one gameplay region at a time. If you choose to copy characters from a different region, any previously copied PTR characters will be lost. In addition, you can only copy characters over to your PTR account once every 24 hours. Attempting to copy characters before this cooldown is up will result in an error.
      Return to Top
       
      As this is a test server, please anticipate uneven game performance, and note that restarts and downtime may occur without warning. Thank you, and we look forward to your feedback!
       
      A killstreak-based seasonal power, new Crusader and Monk sets, Barbarian reworks and more!
    • By Stan
      This week's Challenge Rift 120 revolves around Demon Hunters.
      Challenge Rift 120 EU
      Gear
      Visage of Gunes Rakoff's Glass of Life + Gogok of Swiftness (Rank 57) Strongarm Bracers Elusive Ring + Legacy of Dreams (Rank 53) Pandemonium Loop + Pain Enhancer (Rank 61) Karlei's Point + Holy Point Shot Kanai's Cube Powers
      Dawn Aquila Cuirass Elusive Ring Skills
      VengeanceSeethe ImpaleRicochet PreparationInvigoration Shadow PowerGloom VaultRattling Roll CompanionBat Companion  
      Passives
      Sharpshooter Tactical Advantage Custom Engineering Awareness Impale is your main damage-dealing ability. You won't have any problems with toughness this week. You can Vault through Elites to proc your Strongarm Bracers and deal increased damage. Vengeance is going to have permanent uptime thanks to Gogok of Swiftness. For more information on layout, check out Mnemonic's video guide linked below.
      Challenge Rift 120 US
      Gear
      Andariel's Visage Dovu Energy Trap Mantle of Channeling Aquila Cuirass Frostburn Sanguinary Vambraces Hellcat Waistguard Depth Diggers Irontoe Mudsputters Convention of Elements + Bane of the Trapped (Rank 76) Unity + Legacy of Dreams (Rank 76) Leonine Bow of Hashir + Sin Seekers Kanai's Cube Powers
      Echoing Fury Cindercoat Squirt's Necklace Skills
      VengeanceSeethe GrenadeCluster Grenades Rapid FireWithering Fire Rain of VengeanceShade CompanionBat Companion Shadow PowerBlood Moon Passives
      Sharpshooter Ambush Grenadier Single Out Spam Vengeance, Companion, and Shadow Power every time they're up. Grenades will do your most damage, so throw them as you walk to kill trash. Use Rapid Fire for high single-target damage output on Elites or the Guardian. Cast Rain of Vengeance on Elites. Here's Raxx with his clear of the rift.
    • By Stan
      The drop chance of Legacy of Dreams from Greater Rift Guardians will be increased in Season 19. A suggestion has been passed on to the dev team to include the gem, which replicates the Legacy of Nightmares buff, in the Haedrig's Gift cache.
      The increased drop chance means the gem will have a higher priority to drop from the Greater Rift Guardians as outlined in the blue post below.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Hello everyone,
      In this post I just want to discuss my views on two different approaches for starting a season, and why adding a reworked Legacy of Dreams gem to the 3rd Haedrig reward makes sense.
      As noted, I feel there are two sorts of progressive players in D3. First, you have players that want to take sets, whatever is the most powerful, and just go for it out of the gate. Next, you have a group of players who prefer the slow grind of gathering different pieces of loot for a more player driven build.
      Right now, the first option is the only relevant option if you want to compete out of the gate.
      By allowing Legacy of Dreams to drop with Haedrigs gift, and re-balancing as a level 50 max gem rather than level 99, you fully open up the option for players to hit the ground running with Legacy of Dreams.
      I see absolutely no negative to these two changes, but wanted to see what the community thought?
      Thank you!
      That’s certainly a thought. I’ll pass the feedback on to the development team.
      I will note, however, in the next patch, we are going to increase the drop rate for Legacy of Dreams from Greater Rift Guardians. It’s a little low currently and hopefully that will help with the feeling that this gem is too scarce. We’ll give that a go first and see if we need to re-evaluate after.
      Is this to be interpreted as making it drop sooner when you first start collecting the gems?
      Correct. While you’ll get it eventually even with bad RNG by process of elimination, this change should make it more likely to drop sooner rather than later.
      Again, not guaranteed; random is still random and bad luck still happens. But it should be better after the update.
    • By Stan
      This week's Challenge Rift revolves around Crusaders. Check out the video guides by Mnemonic and Raxx to get started!
      Challenge Rift 119 EU
      Gear
      Thorns of the Invoker Set (5/6) Halcyon's Ascent + Bane of the Stricken (Rank 55) Vigilante Belt Gladiator Gauntlets Stone of Jordan + Bane of the Trapped (Rank 55) Ring of Royal Grandeur + Boyarsky's Chip (Rank 55) Hack + Vo'Toyias Spiker Kanai's Cube Powers
      Akarat's Awakening Aquila Cuirass The Flavor of Time Skills
      ConsecrationBed of Nails PunishCelerity ProvokeHit Me Iron SkinReflective Skin Steed ChargeSpiked Barding Akarat's ChampionProphet Passives
      Iron Maiden Hold Your Ground Finery Heavenly Strength Ignore Consecration, Punish will be your main generator. Use Iron Skin whenever Akarat's Champion is on cooldown for survivability. Use Steed Charge for efficiency. Use Akarat's Champion on cooldown and don't play defensively when in Akarat's form. For more information about the layout and synergies, check out Mnemonic's clear linked below.
      Challenge Rift 119 US
      Gear
      Armor of Akkhan Set (5/6) Talisman of Akkhan + Bane of the Trapped (Rank 35) Aughild's Power Aughild's Search Captain Crimson's Silk Girdle Captain Crimson's Thrust Unity Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac The Furnace + Frydehr's Wrath Kanai's Cube Powers
      Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker Illusory Boots Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac Skills
      Laws of ValorUnstoppable Force CondemnVacuum ProvokeToo Scared to Run Akarat's ChampionProphet SlashGuard Steed ChargeEndurancez Passives
      Heavenly Strength Holy Cause Indestructible Finery Keep Laws of Valor, Condemn, Provoke, and Akarat's Champion up all the time. Condemn does all of your damage. Use Steed Charge to move in between elites. Here's Raxx with his weekly clear of the rift.
    • By Stan
      Based on a recent job posting brought up by Redditor Shirear, Diablo 3 is now classified as a Classic Game.
      Blizzard is looking for a Senior Software Engineer in the latest job listing. The job description mentions Diablo 3 as a Classic Game in addition to Warcraft 3 and Starcraft. It's more than likely that Blizzard will unveil Diablo IV at this year's BlizzCon. You can read the original article linked by Redditor Shirear here.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Some of Blizzard most epic experiences that have brought endless hours of replayability and intense multiplayer battles are now looking for a hero to evolve and carry them into the future. Evolving operating systems, hardware, and online services have made it more difficult to share these experiences.
      Whether it’s battling the Zerg in the Koprulu sector, staking your claim in Azeroth, or saving the High Heavens from the wrath of Diablo, these titans are being modernized to new heights and need a versatile champion to embark on this journey with us to create new adventures. You should be spec’d into engineering talents, passion, and armed with fierce hunger to modernize technology.
      So, if you like wearing many hats, know small teams are the most effective, and look forward to challenges that will create millions of new adventures for our players: we would love to hear from you.
      Responsibilities
      Driving feature implementation from planning to completion for Starcraft, Warcraft III, and Diablo III. Maintain and grow a production environment in a way that makes the system increasingly stable and resilient. Review logs and monitor data to diagnose and fix issues occurring on the live service. Liaise with embedded and external teams, create relationships and assist with shared initiatives. Participate in service capacity planning, demand forecasting, software performance analysis, and system tuning. Respond to and resolve emergent service problems by debugging systems and services. Diagnose networking, database and OS related problems. Share in off-hour / on-call duties. Requirements
      Strong C++ programming skills. Familiar with implementing client/server architecture. A mind towards scalability and performance. Excellent debugging and diagnostic skills. High comfort level working within (and analyzing and improving) an established codebase. Able to work in a collaborative environment with a team of highly skilled programmers. Familiarity with OS, networking and server design concepts. Experience working with Hybrid and public cloud APIs/tech. Excellent verbal and written communications skills. Passion for video games and highly motivated. Pluses
      Previous experience shipping video game titles or other software. Linux development experience. Database development experience (e.g MySQL). Familiar with Python. Experience working with distributed systems. Networking experience (knowledge of low-level protocols and high-level protocols). Low-level network knowledge and diagnosis including packet capture (e.g., tcpdump, wireshark), routing, firewalls, DHCP, DNS, and NAT busting.
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